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dr. R. Palermo

Researcher and VENI Grant Recipient
dr. R. Palermo

Beyond the Rivers of Babylon: Rural Landscape and Settlements in Hellenistic Mesopotamia

This project investigates the impact –and lack thereof – Seleucid imperial power on the highly fertile, though fragile, steppe lands of North Mesopotamia. It aims to assess patterns of occupation and subsistence, material culture and relationships between past societies and the environment. The research is based on the analysis of newly collected evidence in the Kurdistan region of Iraq by archaeological survey projects and excavations. It builds on a collaboration between Harvard University, Groningen, and Udine, as well as UniversiteĢ de Lyon 2 – EPHE/Sorbonne. It will be the first to address the Hellenistic material record in its wider chronological and cultural context. Finds from both surveys and excavation are studied, integrated, and compared with nearby and distant areas. Remote sensing data and spatial analysis are used to reconstruct the rural landscape. Textual evidence supports the historical contextualization.

The project offers a unique opportunity for the creation of the missing link between Near Eastern and Classical Archaeology. It supports prospective investigations by creating the very first scientific tool for the understanding of this long neglected period of Mesopotamian history.

This project also directly engages with a wider public – Dutch and Kurdish, academic and non- academic, in raising awareness about the rich but highly threatened cultural heritage of the Middle East.


The Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey

Last modified:12 November 2019 4.05 p.m.

Contact information

Poststraat 6
9712 ER Groningen
The Netherlands

Groningen Institute of Archaeology